Our American King

It has been 160 years since Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, which, in theory, guaranteed freedom to more than 3.5 million enslaved people.

However, in the years following the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, atrocities against Black Americans continued for decades and often at the hands of those elected and/or hired to serve and protect all Americans.

While many continued to fight for justice and equal treatment of all Americans, an American King began promoting social change through nonviolence and civil disobedience. One hundred years following the Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 helped organize nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama, and later was one of the leaders of the now-famous March on Washington where he delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to achieve racial equality.

Though America has never been ruled by a monarchy nor have we had royal families, we have had a King that by most assessments did more to further the civil rights movement than anyone else.

As our nation pauses on Monday, Jan. 16, to honor the life and legacy of King, we should all be grateful for our American King who likely did more to advance rights for all than any king in the history of the world.

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